Amid a political row over Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's remarks in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, the Congress on Monday said those in public life should speak and act "totally in sync" with the people's sentiments.
Sidhu came under fire for his remarks wherein he asked whether an entire nation could be blamed "for a handful of people".
Forty Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district last week.
Responding to a question on the controversy over Sidhu's remarks, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: "There is, of course, complete freedom of speech in this country, but everybody especially in public life, a 'karyakarta' or otherwise, owes it to himself and to the nation to speak, act, express, totally in sync with and in keeping with the public sentiment."
"I don't think anyone of us have that freedom to cross the limits of that sentiment and that is a matter of self-imposed discipline and maturity which I am sure each one of us must and will practice," he said in an apparent caution to Sidhu.
Sidhu, who made his political debut as a BJP MP in 2004 but joined the Congress ahead of the 2017 assembly polls in Punjab, had drawn flak last year when he visited Pakistan to attend the swearing-in of Prime Minister Imran Khan and greeted the army chief of the neighbouring country with a hug.
The former cricketer's latest remarks have evoked outrage in political circles as well as on the social media and he has apparently been asked to leave a comedy show hosted by Kapil Sharma.